Library Blog

October 25th 2012
A friend read the earlier post about therapeutic reading and wrote to me that The Divine Comedy had helped him through a very difficult time (he thinks it was either Mark Musa's translation or John Ciardi's).*  He has also found comfort in Gerard Manley Hopkins' "Terrible Sonnets" (an example here) and the poetry of George Herbert. He added that in a crisis he often turns to books he knows will make him laugh, such as the works of David Sedaris (he specifically mentioned Me Talk Pretty One Day... Read Post
October 15th 2012
Recently someone wrote to the editors of The Paris Review for reading recommendations. The person in question was suffering from severe depression. As a result he had already lost his job and relationship. He wrote that  he was in therapy, but wondered if the editors could recommend books that would help him recover. Sadie Stein responded with a thoughtful and lengthy list of reading suggestions. She began with books by people who have suffered from depression, on the grounds that whatever you... Read Post
August 9th 2012

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is a great heart-wrenching book about the lives of two women, born a generation apart, and how they become entangled in an unlikely friendship amongst the ongoing wars in Afghanistan. I highly recommend it, either for summer reading or just for fun! It is very interesting and you can’t put it down once you’ve started reading it.

Hosseini’s first book The Kite Runner is now on my list of books to read in the near future.

P.S. Here... Read Post

July 31st 2012
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Director of Libraries, Maria Carpenter, announced today that the City of Somerville has been approved by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) to be placed on a waiting list for an $18 million construction grant to partially fund a new public library in the heart of Union Square. Fourteen other communities were listed, but Somerville received the highest grant award in the state and placed first in the second round of review. Eight more... Read Post
July 18th 2012
I am working at the library because, first of all, I wanted a summer job. Many of my friends decided to participate in the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program and my older sister has done it last year. Based on all that, I decided to participate as well since it looks good on a resume, is good for college, and a good introduction to the working world.

On the application, there were 5 categories of jobs and you had to rank them in order of what you would like to do most.... Read Post

July 9th 2012
...and the weather is hot! But to make the livin' a little easier, here are some ways to avoid (or minimize) cooking. Here are 101 hot-weather recipes by Mark Bittman that require only ten minutes (or fewer) of cooking.  And has a list of quick summer recipes (it's a slideshow, but worth it!).  Furthermore, a section of the most excellent Epicurious is devoted to summer dishes. When looking for recipes, it's also not a bad idea to check the New York Times' City Kitchen column,... Read Post
May 31st 2012
Last night yours truly and Kristi Chase of the City's Historic Preservation department gave a presentation on genealogical and house history research. Since most people remember research processes when they're given concrete examples, we took one house in Somerville and explained how to use library resources and local government document to find out how the house had been altered over the course of its existence and to find out who lived there since it was built. So technically, the... Read Post
March 29th 2012
At the March 22, 2012 Board of Aldermen meeting Mayor Curtatone requested the following transfers from DPW Snow Account: $21,600 to replace the pipes and rugs in the Children's Room in the West Branch. $36,086 to repair the elevator in the Central Library. $59,500 to repair/replace the East Branch Library roof and front entrance. All three requests were approved by the Board. Our thanks to the mayor, the Board of Aldermen, and a very mild winter.
March 26th 2012
A patron once told me that she never goes upstairs to look for books. She picks all her reading material from the return carts near the circulation desk. I told her that would never have occurred to me. She said, "Well, it lets me know what other people are interested in. It's like anonymous book recommendations." Since that conversation Ive taken to looking at  the cart where circulation staff put the most recently returned books. It provides a sample of the diverse tastes of Somerville... Read Post
February 16th 2012
The Children's Room at the West Branch in Davis Square is beloved by children and caregivers alike.  The home of Babygarten, storytime, and the summer reading club, it's where children discover the joys of reading and serves as a valuable resource for parents and teachers as well. In the past three years circulation of children's materials from the West Branch has increased by 44%. Clearly Somerville Children and parents don't just love and appreciate the West Branch Children's department—they... Read Post
February 1st 2012

"Cup o' Joe with Joe" is the City of Somerville's employee recognition program to acknowledge the efforts made by those employees or departments who have gone above and beyond in their usual job responsibilities.  This month's winners are the Library's own Jim and Thy!  Congratulations guys, you earned it!

October 24th 2011

Our new Library Director Maria Carpenter (in the white shirt with the black belt) participates in Flashmob at Sunday's Somerstreet Fest!

August 19th 2011
An SPL blog reader recently suggested to me that I write about "crazy books in the collection."  With over 200,000 volumes SPL definitely has its share of those (among my favorites are a slim little volume on the guys who figured out how to embalm Lenin and a book about the first scientific studies of the duck-billed platypus*) However, one of the best places to seek out unusual reading material is the Local History Room at the Central Library. It's used primarily by genealogists, historic... Read Post
February 28th 2011
There's no doubt about it: we're fascinated by organized crime. Whether it's The Godfather, Goodfellas or The Sopranos, we can't get enough of books and dramas that claim to show us the mob from the inside, an alternative underground world with its own laws and loyalties. Citizen Somerville is the genuine article: the memoir of Bobby Martini, who grew up during the Irish Gang Wars of the 1960s. He describes what it was like to live in the crossfire of the violence that claimed 60 lives before... Read Post
October 17th 2010
Every October it becomes important, no, necessary to see the leaves turning, to be surrounded by leaves turning; it's not just the symbolism, to confront in the death of the year your death, one blazing farewell appearance, though the irony isn't lost on you that nature is most seductive when it's about to die, flaunting the dazzle of its incipient exit, an ending that at least so far the effects of human progress (pollution, acid rain) have not yet frightened you enough to make you believe... Read Post